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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Witches switch suits Joonas

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:22 03 March 2010

Speedway: THE man with a duel nationality will have a one-track mind when it comes to speedway in 2002.

Joonas Kylmorkpi, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Valentine's Day, is convinced that Ipswich's Foxhall Stadium circuit will be right up his street.

THE man with a duel nationality will have a one-track mind when it comes to speedway in 2002.

Joonas Kylmorkpi, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Valentine's Day, is convinced that Ipswich's Foxhall Stadium circuit will be right up his street.

Evening Star Witches have signed Kylmorkpi on a year's loan deal from Eastbourne – and he will be in town for the first time on March 13 when the Sky Sports Elite club holds it Press Day.

The rider, who lives just outside Stockholm and whose girlfriend Susann is a university student, feels that the grippy Foxhall track will suit his style.

Speaking from Sweden today Kylmorkpi said: "I did not do myself justice when I rode at Ipswich for Eastbourne last year. My engines were not set up powerfully enough.

"At Eastbourne there is never any dirt on the track and this is the same at most other Elite League circuits. But Ipswich is different and I am sure I will benefit.

"I ride grass-track and long-track and am used to plenty of grip. With the right set-up I am sure I can score well around Foxhall. I have nothing against the shape or the size and am looking forward to the season to start."

Kylmorkopi knew that he would not figure in the Eastbourne team this season and was hoping to get fixed up somewhere.

"But I did not dream it would be Ipswich," he explained. "I did not think my two performances at Foxhall would have impressed the Ipswich management.

"To average five and a half points a meeting may be acceptable to some in their first year of English racing. But I felt I should have done better. My target this season will be to up that by at least another point."

Kylmorkpi has Swedish and Finnish passports. His parents are Finns, but they moved to Sweden before their son was born.

"I can ride under a Swedish or Finnish speedway licence, but I think I will stick with Finland this year as it makes it easier to progress in the world championship," added Kylmorkpi, who will be based with a family near Eastbourne during his time in England.

He will ride in the Swedish League for Gothenburg club Kaparna but will not be involved in the Polish League.

Kylmorkpi began riding speedway when he was eight years old after watching a meeting with his brother and being offered a bike to ride.

"I have not looked back and always wanted to be a speedway rider," he said. "I have been in the gym six days a week this winter and feel really fit. Now is the time when I really want to get back onboard a speedway bike again.

"Ipswich look to have a strong team and I am sure I will settle in well. The deep Foxhall track should suit me, while I should benefit from a second year in the Elite League in away fixtures."

Kylmorkpi is set to partner Witches skipper Chris Louis and ride at number two in the side, making the only change in the top five and taking the place of Jarek Hampel.

If he can score as well as the young Pole did in 2001 the fortunes for Ipswich look promising. Carl Baldwin, 37, will fill one of the reserve berths with Leigh Lanham and Danny Bird sharing the other. Lanham will continue riding for Arena Essex in the Premier League and Bird for the Isle of Wight.

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